MISSION AND MINISTRY | Members of Loyola Marymount University’s 10 service organizations gathered in Sacred Heart Chapel on a Saturday evening in early January to celebrate and give thanks for the contributions of the service org community, both on campus and in the broader community.
The service, which included prayer, song, and a symbolic passing of candles between organization presidents former and current, was followed by a gala and dinner in St. Robert’s Auditorium sponsored by the Center for Service and Action and Campus Ministry.
At its inception, the gala was an occasion to recognize the outstanding service org of the year, but in more recent years the gala has taken on a different form. Now, each outgoing president takes to the podium to celebrate the past year’s achievement not of his or her own group, but of one of the other LMU organizations. For Tom King, assistant director for student engagement in the Center for Service and Action and coordinator of the event, the gala is not about the differences that define the organizations but the shared commitment to living out LMU’s mission that unites them all. “The annual Service Org Gala is an opportunity for the members to celebrate the past year of service and re-dedicate themselves to their shared mission as members of the service org community. Every year students tell me the gala is a highlight of their year because it is an evening of good fellowship and it energizes them to continue to do their service work in the communities they serve.”
At this year’s gala, LMU also welcomed its tenth and newest service org, Agape. Paige Petersen, former vice president of finance for the Creare service organization, was honored for her contributions to the service org community.
“I would have to say that the gala is important to me because it gives the service org community a chance to break bread together to share our stories,” said Manny Talusan, the gala’s student emcee. “It’s important to share our stories with one another because the service that we do is not exclusive between the person doing the serving and the person being served. The mission value of being for and with others is greatly emphasized at the gala because it allows us to be together and express our motivations and our ‘whys’ with each other.”